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BAFF maintains T-cell survival by inducing OPN expression in B cells

Ma, N;He, Y;Xiao, H;Han, G;Chen, G;Wang, Y;Wang, K;Hou, C;Yang, X;Marrero, B;Wang, Y;Shen, B;Li, Y;Wang, R;

Dysregulation of T-cell survival and apoptosis is the common cause of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the factors inducing imbalance of T-cell survival and apoptosis in MS remains unclear. Here, we show that the resistance to apoptosis was associated with high levels of B-cell activating factor (BAFF). Blockade of BAFF with TACI (transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor)-IgG significantly reduced T-cell survival in myelin oligodendroglia glycoprotein (MOG)-induced chronic experimental allergic encephalitis (EAE). Furthermore, BAFF induced anti-apoptotic molecule Bcl2 expression in T cells by up-regulating osteopontin (OPN) secretion from B cells. BAFF mainly induced OPN expression in splenic CD21(-)CD23(+) B cells via a NF-kB dependent signaling pathway. In addition, we found that BAFF and OPN levels were increased in MS patients similar to the results obtained from our mice research. The study suggests that BAFF regulates T-cell survival by inducing OPN secretion in B cells in autoimmune diseases.